South Shore Beaches
Ma'alaea Beach down to La Perouse Bay
The South Side Beaches are one long series of beaches running from Ma’alaea down to Makena, where it then becomes rocky black lava, except for Makena State Park, which is Maui’s longest white-sand beach. All the beaches along this South Side of the island are about the same, with the Kamaole Beaches attracting the most crowds, particularly residents. Mokapu, Ulua, Polo and Wailea Beaches are popular with visitors. Po’olenalena Beach has the least crowds.
Snorkeling is good at most beaches with rocky shoreline, with Makena Landing being popular with scuba divers.
WARNING Be careful of the ocean if you don’t know what you’re doing. When in doubt, don’t!
La Perouse Bay is the best site for serious snorkeling on the island. There are porta potties in the parking lot, and its about a 150-yard walk to the rocky shoreline. It’s exposed to the open ocean, so it can be dangerous if it’s bad weather and/or rough seas.
Ma’alaea Beach is not used much because when the tradewinds are blowing this beach does get windy. When the wind is light, this beach is nice, though not good for swimming because of the rocks and coral. No facilities.
Mai Poina ‘Oe La’u Beach is a nice uncrowded beach, and seldom used by visitors, probably because of its name. Its name means not to be forgotten. It has all facilities, and parking along the street. Popular with wind and kitesurfers when the wind is blowing out of the south.
Charley Young Beach is a popular out-of-the-way beach for residents. Has showers. You have to walk down steps to the beach.
Kamaole Beach Park l , or Kam l as the locals call it, is the smallest of the three Kamaole Beaches. Has all facilities, and all three are popular with residents.
Kamaole Beach Park ll
Kamaole Beach Park lll is the largest of the three parks, and has the largest parking lot. There’s a rocky shoreline on the south which is good for snorkeling, and a large grassy area in front of the parking lot for activities.
Keawakapu Beach fronts several large condominiums, and has a large parking lot across the street. Other than the foot wash you’ll pass, there are no facilities.
Mokapu Beach is on the north side of Ulua Beach, and it is only the shore rocks that separates them. The parking lot and facilities are shared by the two beaches.
Ulua Beach is one of the better beaches along this coast for snorkeling. Beginning scuba classes dive here. Has all facilities. The parking lot gets filled early in the day.
Wailea Beach fronts the Four Seasons Resort, which their guests use. Has all facilities, and you have to walk down steps from the parking lot to reach the beach.
Polo Beach fronts The Fairmont Kea Lani hotel, and is used by their guest. Has all facilities and good parking.
Palauea Beach is hidden from the street by a Kiawe grove that you have to walk through to to get to this beach. Kiawe trees are loaded with thorns, so wear slippers or shoes when walking near them. Another little-used great beach, with only a porta pottie.
Po’olenalena Beach is another seldom-used beach, so there’s no crowds. Careful walking from your car because of the kiawe thorns. Has a porta pottie.
Makena Landing is a popular site for scuba divers who explore the caves and sea life along the rocks on the right side. Continuing around the rocks divers come to the Five Graves (or Five Caves) dive site. The landing is also used to launch the kayaks and water boards you see here in Makena Bay. Has all facilities.
Maluaka Beach fronts the Makena Beach & Golf Resort, and is one of those little-used, out-of-the-way beaches seldom used by visitors. And because of the lack of people, it’s a popular location for visitor weddings. It has all facilities, and a grassy area for receptions. The parking lot is on the south side of the beach.
Makena State Park is commonly called Big Beach, and when you visit you’ll know why. There’s two parking lots, and most people use the first one. It is Maui’s largest undeveloped white-sand beach, and has only porta potties. It’s popular with both residents and visitors, and on the other side of Pu’u Olai (the name of the large cinder cone on the north side) is Little Beach, Maui’s unofficial nude beach.
Pa’ako Beach, commonly referred to as The Cove, is the smallest beach on the island, and very picturesque, especially at sunset. Because of this, it is a desirable visitor wedding site. There’s no signs for its location, and hard to find. You have to walk through an opening in a stone wall. There are no facilities.
‘Ahihi Cove is the most convenient and best site for family snorkeling on this side of the island; it is right by the road. There are no facilities. You have to park past it, along the side of the road.
Photos of Maui Beaches & Drives
Aloha, welcome to Maui!
mokapu beach maui